Bill Gates stated that he regrets his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
The Microsoft co-founder’s association with Epstein — a former financier and convicted sex offender who allegedly committed suicide in his jail cell — was reportedly a prevalent factor in Gates’ divorce with his wife, Melinda. The couple finalized the end of their twenty-seven-year marriage on Monday, although court documents did not reveal how they would allocate Gates’ $150 billion fortune.
Another report revealed that Gates pushed Epstein to remake his public image after his sex offenses began to circulate in the public eye. According to The Daily Beast, Gates “encouraged Epstein to rehabilitate his image in the media following his 2008 guilty plea for soliciting a minor for prostitution, and discussed Epstein becoming involved with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” A source told the outlet that meetings at Epstein’s mansion in New York was a “way of getting away from Melinda.”
Nevertheless, Gates said in an interview with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper that he should not have associated with Epstein.
“It was a huge mistake to spend time with him, to give him the credibility of, you know, being there,” Gates said. “You know, there were lots of others in that same situation, but I made a mistake.”
Gates added that his “several dinners” with Epstein occurred in the hopes that “what he said about getting billions of philanthropy to global health through contacts that he had might emerge.”
He also called the divorce a “sad milestone,” as “Melinda’s a great person and that partnership that we had coming to an end is a source of great personal sadness.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — which holds nearly $50 billion in assets and is one of the most powerful nonprofits in the world — emphasizes public health, education, and other social causes. However, it also supports “family planning” initiatives and has donated heavily to Planned Parenthood; in 2012, the Gates Foundation pledged $1 billion to “help reach the goal of providing 120 million additional women with contraceptives, information, and services by 2020.”
The foundation recently revealed that although Bill and Melinda Gates will attempt to work together as co-chairs, Melinda will resign from the organization within two years if the partnership is no longer productive.